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Canada Meets Thailand = YUMMY!

Riesling is the perfect grape. Well, that’s what a lot of wine pros think anyway. It pairs with a vast array of dishes. And when it has a touch of residual sugar, balanced by the high acidity, it is the perfect match for a spicy dish.

That’s why when I made a Vegetable Thai Green Curry for dinner last night, I cracked open a bottle of 2013 Fielding Estate Riesling to serve alongside. The pairing was perfect!

Fielding Estate Winery is nestled on Niagara’s Beamsville Bench, a sub-appellation of the Niagara Peninsula VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) located in … yes … Ontario, Canada! Many people are shocked to learn that this area grows great wine grapes!!!! Yes, Vitis vinifera!!!! The region is at about the same latitude as Northern Italy, and think of the great wines THEY produce. Plus, Lake Ontario, along its northern edge, moderates the climate making it very similar to the climate of Burgundy! Their terroir and microclimate suit Riesling, Chardonnay, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and more!

The 2013 Fielding Estate Riesling is pale straw in color. On the nose are peaches, citrus and a nice minerality. Peaches, lemon drop and lime are on the palate. This is an off-dry wine with a lively acidity that balances the wine beautifully.

The sweetness of the wine’s residual sugar offers a refreshing contrast and moderates the heat and spice of the dish. A high alcohol and tannic wine will clash with the Thai Green Curry’s spiciness, making it feel even hotter.

Even if you’re not normally a fan of off-dry Riesling, you’ll be amazed at this pairing. You’ll end up loving the wine! And at only 10.5% alcohol, you can enjoy an extra glass!!!!

So, the next time you’re enjoying a spicy dish, grab a glass of Riesling to help wash it down. In fact, try a Fielding Estate wine! You can check them out here:


Side by Side Rieslings, With Friends

I’ve mentioned in prior posts that I’m a member of a great tasting group full of fellow wine geeks with whom I blind taste wines. Most of us are studying for the next level of a certification, while others are well-educated wine lovers looking to expand their palates.  This past week one of our flights was so remarkable that it deserves mention in my blog!

This particular flight was two white wines; one golden in color and the other so clear it could have almost passed as water by sight alone.

The golden colored wine had aromas of honey, over-ripe tangerine, baked pineapple and petrol. (Hmmm.  Could this be Riesling?) On the palate were honey and pineapple upside down cake!

The very pale colored wine had a nose of grapefruit, apricot, lemon rind, slate and petrol. (Hmmmmm.  Riesling again???) The palate was pleasantly sweet with great acidity to balance the residual sugar, and tasted of the lemon and some tangerine.

The reveal of the wines was great fun! The golden colored was, not surprisingly, much older than the pale colored wine.  It was a 2005 St. Urbans-Hof Leiwener Laurentiuslay Riesling Spätlese Feinherb from the German region of Mosel.

The almost clear colored wine was a 2013 St. Urbans-Hof Bockstein Ockfen Riesling Spätlese, also from Mosel.

The wines are obviously from the same producer using the same varietal, but are from different vineyards and from vintages years apart.

Also, the word Feinherb is used to indicate a wine that tastes dry or nearly dry but isn’t legally Trocken, which indicates dry. Therefore, on the palate the ’13 was much sweeter than the ‘ 05.

The region of Mosel-Saar-Ruwer is considered by many to be the greatest wine region of Germany. Weingut St. Urbans-Hof is a family estate, which owns parcels in some of the finest Grand Crus of the Mosel and Saar Valley. They are known for making wines that bring out the authentic character of their site and their region.

Tasting groups are such a fun way to have the opportunity to taste many different wines, and to taste some side by side. If you have a group of wine loving friends, get a group together. All you need is some fun wines disguised in a paper bag, some wine glasses, some water for hydration, and a group of cool, like minded people who enjoy wine as much as you do!

Wonderful Whites from Alsace!

Alsace is a region of France that I have yet to visit, much to my chagrin, but whose wines I absolutely adore!

I recently found a bottle of the Trimbach ’08 Gewurztraminer at Wine Watch, a great wine store in Fort Lauderdale (another blog for another day!) and grabbed it. Tonight I popped it open!

Maison Trimbach has been around a long time, since 1626 to be exact. Twelve generations have continued their viticulture history, with the family vineyard being led today by Hubert Trimbach, his nephews Jean and Pierre, and his daughter Anne. The family produces wines from all of the classic Alsace varietals, but today I’m going to tell you about this ’08 Gewurztraminer.

Alsace is a prime spot for this aromatic and lively grape. Gewurtz (as it is often called for short) thrives in this region of France, and many “pros” consider this to be the prime spot to grow this aromatic and lively grape. 

The ’08 Trimbach has a golden color with sexy aromas of peach, lychee, pear and honeysuckle. The palate has honey, ripe  (almost jammy) pear, peach and is dry with a peppery spiciness on the finish. This wine definitely benefited from being cellared for a few years and is ready to drink now.

I recently poured Trimbach’s ’13 Pinot Blanc for a corporate event, and it was the “surprise wine” of the night. People couldn’t believe how much they loved it.

Trimbach is best knows for their fabulous bottlings of Riesling, but they do a wonderful job with all of the Alsatian varietals.

Yes, there is definitely a trip to Alsace in my not too distant future. Until then, I’ll keep lots of wines from the region in my cellar, with Trimbach being at the top of my list.

Riesling, A Full Circle Wine!

Things often seem to come around full circle. It happens in many aspects of our lives, including wine!

Riesling is one of those wines. It is often the varietal people start drinking when they’re first getting into wine, and eventually ends up being a favorite, especially with experienced wine drinkers. A glass of Riesling is easy to drink and keeps us wanting more. “Keep filling up the glass,” we say! The often sweet or off-dry wines are attractive and easy to drink!

The more we drink and learn about wine, many of us often decide that if it’s not bone dry, big, red, and full of tannin it’s not good. And yet many wine professionals believe Riesling to be the world’s greatest varietal!  Hmmmm.  How does this work?

The high acidity of the Riesling grape keeps it all together.  It balances out any residual sugar to make these wines very drinkable and fabulous accompaniments to a wide range of foods.  AND, not all Riesling has an abundance of sweetness.

Last night I opened a bottle of the 2012 Dönnhoff Riesling Trocken from the Nahe region of Germany.  This pale yellow wine has a lovely, aromatic nose with lime zest, lemon peel and white flowers. Some of the slate and petrol that is so typical in Riesling is there as well. “Trocken” means dry.   This wine isn’t sweet, but it has wonderful fruitiness that livens the palate with a crisp, prickly effervescence on the palate.  Peach, apricot, pear and great acidity round out the palate.

And the price is great too!!!  At about $20 a bottle this is one of my “go to” Rieslings for fun gatherings, sipping on my deck after a long day of work, and will be a great addition to my Thanksgiving dinner this year.

You can get more information here:


Heuriger Stockingerhof in Dürnstein, Austria

In the heart of Austria’s Wachau wine region sits a delightful little town named Dürnstein, which is definitely worth an overnight stop.  While visiting last month we enjoyed a boat ride up and down the Danube River, relished in the view of the distinctly blue Abbey Church, and explored the small town and it’s lovely shops that sit below the medieval castle from which the city gained its name.

Here the grapes grow, the wine flows and heurigen await their visitors.  A heurige is a wine tavern usually attached to the winemakers’ home.  This is where the family’s wine of the most recent vintage, sometimes along with some rustic food, is served.  Only the owner’s wine is served here, and traditionally the winemaker and his family make all of the food from scratch.  The word “heurige” is used for both the wine of the latest vintage as well as the tavern where it is consumed.

While visiting Dürnstein we were fortunate enough to happen upon the Winery (and Heuriger) Stockingerhof.  The winemaker and owner Peter, along with his lovely wife, were gracious hosts.  We stopped for a glass of wine in the afternoon, where we enjoyed a Grüner Veltliner Steinfeder 2010 as well as a Riesling Smaragd 2010.  When Peter discovered we were fellow lovers of golf, he presented a bottle of his “Birdie One”, a Grüner Veltliner Federspiel 2011.  This wine was ranked among the top 3 wines in both the Wine & Spirit Asia Challenge in Singapore and the Decanter World Wine Award in London.  Over 30,000 of the best wines of the world entered these contests, so you can imagine what a nice wine this is.

We returned that night for dinner and ordered a Caprese Salad and the Mushroom Goulash.  Oh my, what a wonderful meal.  The Goulash was to die for, served with large warm rolls that we used to soak up the juice from the Goulash.  It was by far my favorite dish of the trip.  To enhance our meal we ordered a bottle of his “Birdie Red”, a Zweigelt blend made of 50% Zweigelt from the 2008 vintage and 50% Zweigelt from the 2009 vintage.

To end our meal Peter brought us out a glass of his homemade apricot brandy.  The apricots used were from a tree in front of us, growing right by his vineyard.  It was delicious and a great ending to a perfect meal.

The next time I head to the Wachau region, not only will I drink and dine at Stockingerhof again, but I’ll also be sure to call and make a reservation for the Pension, as they also have rooms in which to stay.

Check them out at:

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